Does Work-Life Balance Exist? See What These 12 Founders Think.


Work-life balance is hard to define. For some, work is life, but for others, the term means making time for family, friends or even just relaxing.

“It is very important,” says Dave Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly. “It means you’re working at a sustainable pace.”

Jack Groetzinger, CEO and co-founder of SeatGeek, may disagree with that statement. “The phrase work-life balance applies to two separate things that you're trading off between, and for me they all sort of mold into one -- it's not like work ever really ends.”

While where people stand on the work-life spectrum will vary, we wanted to get a read on how other entrepreneurs define it. So, pulled from our 20 Questions series, where we ask both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs 20 questions about what makes them tick, their everyday success strategies and advice for aspiring founders. From those interviews we took these 12 founders answers to “What does work-life balance mean to you?”

See what they had to say:

1 / 12

The company is my life.

Name: Damien Patton

Position: Founder and CEO

Company: Banjo, a social media and digital signal organization service that let’s you know what’s going on in anywhere in the world live.

As a founder and CEO that’s very active in running the company in all parts, there’s no such thing as a work-life balance -- and that’s my choice. I love what I do. It’s my life. I’m literally in love with Banjo and the idea behind the company. So, why wouldn’t that be all encompassing in my life? It’s not just a company, it’s THE company for me.  

2 / 12

Work-life balance isn’t a zero-sum game.

Name: Josh Reeves

Position: Co-founder and CEO

Company: Gusto, a company that provides payroll, benefits and HR to companies.

Work-life balance implies to me a zero-sum game, and it's not. If work is better, life doesn’t suck, and if life is better, work doesn’t suck. Work can and should be a part of life. Work-life as a part of living is making sure that I spend time on things I want to do, and I’m passionate about. Making sure I’m doing what’s important to me and making sure how I spend my time matches what is important to me.

3 / 12

It’s about spending quality time with the relationships in your life.

Name: Dave Rusenko

Position: Founder and CEO

Company: Weebly, a website builder and web design service.

It’s very important. It means you’re working at a sustainable pace.

It’s also important to devote the right amount of time toward the important relationships in your life, like my marriage. There’s lots of people at Weebly, and they also have families and that’s the most important part of their life. This is why it’s important to have a flexible schedule. For example, leaving at 5 p.m on the dot should not be looked down upon. You can come in early, so you can go home, eat dinner and get your kids ready for bed. It’s all about staying healthy and taking care of the important relationships in life.

4 / 12
Baked By Melissa

Be present in the moment.

Name: Melissa Ben-Ishay

Position: Co-founder and President

Company: Baked by Melissa, a bakery known for it’s bite sized desserts.

It means kicking ass when I’m at work and being the best mom ever when I’m home. It’s just about enjoying it. I thought it would be really hard to come back to work, but it wasn’t. Having a kid has made me better when I’m at work and better when I’m at home. I’m able to look forward to both.

5 / 12

Know how to turn work off.

Name: Jeff Chapin

Position: Co-founder and Chief Product Officer

Company: Casper, an online mattress company.

I have a good signal for whether or not I’m doing good at this or not. If I go to bed and I’m not thinking about work, then I’m doing OK in the work-life balance. It’s about being able to shut off work at certain times.

6 / 12
Too Faced

It doesn’t exist.

Name: Jerrod Blandino

Position: Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer

Company: Too Faced, a makeup and beauty products company.

What’s that? I don’t know what that means.
7 / 12
Stella & Dot

It depends on your values.

Name: Jessica Dilullo Herrin

Position: CEO and Founder

Company: Stella & Dot, a jewelry and accessory line that you can purchase through in-home trunk shows, independent stylists or on its website.

It means living your life in accordance with your values. I practice work-life integration and being what’s right in your life.
8 / 12

Schedule time for both work and life.

Name: Aaron Hirschhorn

Position: CEO and Co-founder

Company: DogVacay, a company that connects pets with hosts for pet sitting, dog walking and more.

I'm an introvert, so being the CEO of a company where I have to be the face of the company, do press interviews, stand in front of the whole company and be motivational -- all those things are actually pretty draining for me. I need to find ways to recharge and to me that's personal time, mostly exercising. I have to find time for exercise, to stay healthy, clear my mind, and I have to find time for family. I literally schedule it like I would for any other meeting, and I think that's a really good way to find balance.

9 / 12

Work-life balance isn’t two separate things.

Name: Jack Groetzinger

Position: CEO and co-founder

Company: SeatGeek, an event ticket search engine.

The phrase work- life balance applies to two separate things that you're trading off between, and for me they all sort of mold into one -- it's not like work ever really ends. In a lot of ways it is my life, so it sort of all one thing. I think the dichotomy is a bit false.
10 / 12

It comes down to the word ‘challenge.’

Name: Ryan Holmes

Position: Founder and CEO

Company: Hootsuite, a social media management company.

It’s a moving target. It’s not like if I work 40 hours this week I’ve achieved balance, or if I work 80 hours next week then everything is imbalanced. I try to ride the line between not being challenged enough and being over-challenged.
11 / 12

It’s blurred lines.

Name: Julia Hartz

Position: Co-founder and President

Company: Eventbrite, an online marketplace for live events like concerts, sporting games and more.

Finding balance is an ongoing challenge, which requires constant attention and dedication. My life is extremely binary -- my passion is in Eventbrite, and my love is in my family. The nature of business today is that the lines of “work” and “life” are a little more blurred. Time spent outside of the office or with family is sacred, so we try our best to bring many things that happen outside, into the office.
12 / 12

Be all in.

Name: Matt Ehrlichman

Position: CEO and Co-founder

Company: Porch, a home services platform, connects customers with home service experts.

It’s be all in on whatever you’re doing on that particular point in time. The great challenge in life is doing each of the roles really well, but the best way to do that is whatever you’re spending time on right then to be all in. Be the best that you can be.

Does Work-Life Balance Exist? See What These 12 Founders Think.

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